Using Skyscrapers to Store Electrical Energy: The Ingenious Project of These Engineers

Using Skyscrapers to Store Electrical Energy: The Ingenious Project of These Engineers

Engineers and architects from a renowned firm are considering using skyscrapers as giant batteries to store electricity using gravity.

Imagine a futuristic city where skyscrapers serve not only as homes or offices but also as gigantic batteries capable of storing energy. This is not science fiction!

Engineers and architects from Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) — the designers of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai — a company specializing in energy storage, are collaborating with Energy Vault on this revolutionary idea.

The concept utilizes an ancient gravity-based energy storage technique. SOM plans to build skyscrapers with a Gravity Energy Storage System (GESS). When excess energy is available, it lifts a heavy mass to the top of the building. When energy is needed, the mass descends, driving a generator to produce electricity. Imagine a heavy elevator that stores energy when lifted and generates electricity when lowered. This project, named EVu, aims to transform skyscrapers into environmentally friendly, urban power plants.

SOM and Energy Vault claim this technology could store several gigawatt-hours of energy, enough to power the skyscraper and neighboring buildings. This innovative, eco-friendly solution could reduce fossil fuel dependence and improve energy resilience in future cities.


Another project, EVc, is also underway. It uses a pumped-storage system similar to hydroelectric plants. Excess energy pumps water to the top of the skyscraper, which then generates electricity as it descends, turning turbines. This transforms the skyscraper into a giant waterfall where falling water produces energy.

These projects face significant challenges. Building towers capable of supporting enormous weights is complex and costly. The skyscrapers must be strong enough to lift and hold these masses, and the required space for storage systems may limit traditional residential or office use.

Despite these challenges, turning skyscrapers into giant batteries is an appealing idea. This effort aims to find sustainable, innovative solutions for future cities. Gravity-based energy storage is clean, reliable, and renewable, potentially revolutionizing energy consumption and storage. Cities with many skyscrapers, like New York, Shanghai or Tokyo, could greatly benefit, reducing their carbon footprint and improving energy autonomy through these innovative integrated systems.